4.1 Through battlefields
Battlefields are poignant landscapes where physical geography has been transformed into symbolic space through war, pilgrimage, memorialization and tourism, and by its ambiguity as a living tomb for the missing.  The vivid, visceral imagery of battlefields, cemeteries and memorial monuments has impressed itself on historical consciousness and on our cultural memory of war. For most people these mental impacts come from pictures and words.  Visits to actual battlefields are not necessary to encounter them.
Battlefields are significant on a number of levels: as places where major geo- political issues were decided through conflict; as places of triumph and tragedy; and as the source or inspiration for tactical or technological advances. Places like the Somme, Verdun and Gettysburg are historic sites, sacred places, and the focus of complex issues surrounding cultural heritage and the commemoration and presentation of the past. At sites where authentic battlefield terrain has been preserved, such as Vimy Ridge or Vicksburg, the visitor stands in a trench, or at the edge of a shell hole or crater, or deep inside subterranean tunnels, and there is an emotional sense of place, of intersecting the lives of the soldiers.  Such locations offer a reaffirmation of personal ties, a way of remembering, and of exploring individual and collective identities. 
Many of the past battlefields throughout the world are considered if not exactly sacred sites, then places of reflection and contemplation, where dozens or thousands died defending some notion of nation.  Whether battles were fought for good reasons or bad, they are part of our collective history.
To the extent that battlefields are regarded as holy sites, visitors might think of themselves as pilgrims. This notion is apparent in Walter's (1993:72) study of a World War II battlefield in which he describes what he and others experienced, where "for a few moments [visitors] cease to be tourists and have connected with something very deep."
Many old soldiers suspected that the withered landscape of northern France and Belgian Flanders would swarm with tourists once the First World War had ended. .  David Jones a survivor of the First World War Western Front campaign expressed it this way
It’s difficult with the weight of the rifle.
Leave it – under the oak.
Leave it for a salvage-bloke
let it lie bruised for a monument
dispense the authenticated fragments to the faithful.

… but leave it - under the oak.
Leave it for a Cook’s tourist to the Devastated areas and crawl
as far as you can and wait for the bearers.
Another war poet, Philip Johnstone, wrote a sardonic poem about the sightseers who would be drawn to the killing fields out of dread fascination and morbid curiousity

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is High Wood,
Called by the French, Bois des Forneaux,
The famous spot which in Nineteen-Sixteen,
July, August and September was the scene
Of long and bitterly contested strife,
By reason of its High commanding site.
Observe the effect of shell-fire in the trees
Standing and fallen ; here is wire; this trench
For months inhabited, twelve times changed hands ;
(They soon fall in), used later as a grave.
It has been said on good authority
That in this fighting for a patch of wood
Were killed somewhere above eight thousand men,
Of whom the greater part were buried here,
This mound on which you stand being …
Madame, please.

You are requested kindly not to touch
Or take away the Company’s property
As souvenirs ; you’ll find we have on sale
A large variety, all guaranteed.
As I was saying, all is as it was.
This is an unknown British officer,
The tunic having lately rotted off.
Please follow me – this way …
the path, sir, please,

The ground which was secured at great expense
The Company keeps absolutely untouched,
And in that dug-out (genuine) we provide
Refreshments at a reasonable rate.
You are requested not to leave about
Paper, or ginger-beer bottles, or orange-peel,
There are waste-paper baskets at the gate.
1 David Jones, In Parenthesis (1937) part 7, pp. 183–186

2 Philip Johnstone, High Wood, cited in Paul Fussell, The Bloody Game (Scribners, London, 1991) pp.197–98
God - The belief in a Supreme Being (or beings) continues to shape the lives of billions, and forms the cultural and social framework of most modern societies?even those that recognize religious freedom and diversity. Believers will tell you that faith can provide comfort in times of sorrow, hope in moments of desperation, and strength against temptation. But religion also defines the common values of many societies, and provides a sense of group identity. Religious law often forms the basis for civil law, helping to provide order, structure, and a sense of community values.
Houses of worship the world over serve as central meeting places, where members of large and small communities gather to exchange news and discuss politics. Religious leaders often wield great influence over their congregations, influencing and informing their opinions on the critical questions of the day. Followers are urged or encouraged to contribute money or labor to the faith, thereby increasing and maintaining the power and prestige of their religious leaders.
Since the dawn of civilization, societal leaders have sought to wield even greater power by declaring themselves to be super-    believers, high priests, or even minor gods. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt were worshipped as earthly embodiments of various gods, and the Kings and Queens of medieval Europe claimed to rule by ?Divine Right.? Conversely, Roman Catholic Popes have led armies in battle, lived in luxurious apartments, kept mistresses, and even had children?behaving very much like earthly kings.
Even in the most secular modern societies, religion continues to play a major role in politics. One of the largest political parties in Germany is the Christian Democrats. The national flags of most Northern European nations are based on the Christian Cross. The British monarch is also the titular head of the Church of England. In America, where freedom of religion is Constitutionally guaranteed, politicians continue to visit churches to make political speeches, and religious leaders sometimes run for public office. Indeed, after the terrorist attacks in September 2001, President George W. Bush addressed a grieving nation with a stirring address from Washington?s National Cathedral.
When piety and religious identity are raised as virtues above all others, however, the effects can be poisonous and divisive. Religious wars were the curse of medieval Europe, when heretics and unbelievers were often tortured or burned at the stake. Christian Crusaders visited terror upon the Arab Muslims in the Levant for centuries. Strife between Anglicans and Catholics in England led to many bloody conflicts, and still haunts Northern Ireland to this day. Muslim imams and mullahs declare jihad against the ?Zionists and Crusaders? that occupy lands they consider holy. The fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed centuries-old Buddhist statues, oppressed the local populace, and harbored anti- western terrorists. A theocratic government in Iran continues to arrest and brutalize those who dare to oppose their rule.
My mother's cousin, Walter Charles Kemp, Sergeant 46007, 120th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Died 07/09/1918. Age 28 Son of Henry and Emma Kemp of Aldeburgh. husband of Mary Teresa Kemp of Rambler Cottages, Great Barton, Bury St Edmund's. Buried at Fins New British Cemetery, Sorel-Le-Grand
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